Graham Wallington, CEO of WildEarth, a network of live wildlife channels and broadcasters, on the current state of online video in Africa, the continent’s potential for catch-up services, and the key content opportunities that he sees emerging as online video takes hold in Africa.
What is your impression of the current state of online video in Africa?
Online video in Africa is still at a very early stage.
The slow development of this sector can be attributed entirely to the high cost of Internet bandwidth for both the broadcaster and the consumer.
Specifically the fact that consumers have ‘capped’ broadband connections (on the whole) has resulted in consumers preferring not to watch much video online.
Is there scope for broadcasters to introduce their own version of the iPlayer?
While there is certainly scope for the introduction of services like iPlayer in Africa, there is unlikely to be much uptake in it’s utilisation until such time as the cost (in terms of bandwidth) to the consumer of watching online video reduces massively.
What are some of the key content opportunities that you see arising from OTT services in Africa?
I believe that there is a large opportunity for religious broadcasts (particularly live broadcasts) online in Africa.
I also believe that ‘catch-up-TV’ will be successful on OTT platforms in Africa, once the cost of broadband connectivity comes in line with Europe, Asia and the Americas.
How can these OTT opportunities be monetized in emerging African markets?
Monetization of OTT content delivery is a significant challenge throughout the world, and especially so in Africa.
Realistically these types of services are likely to be monetized via advertising (the Hulu model) or possibly as a ‘TV Everywhere’ service provided by pay-TV operators to their existing subscriber bases.